Clearing up some misinformation concerning bed bugs
I have learned a few new things about bed bugs this weekend that give me reason to retract and clarify some things I have written about bed bugs in the past month or so...
In a recent article I mentioned that people in my building were now spraying a pesticide resistant bed bug a second time. This turns out to be inaccurate information. What happened is that the guy next door sprayed his bed bugs and they did what bed bugs do when they are sprayed, which is run like hell into the suite next door. As a result I was picking up a bunch of dead bugs and some almost dead bed bugs with tape on my bed room floor (about three dozen of the things). These bed bugs were all small, about two or three weeks old. |
What I have discovered this weekend is that bed bug eggs cannot be sprayed as bed bugs protect their eggs with a tough protective sheath that is impermeable to pesticides. (Are they not truly amazingly adaptable bugs?) For this reason, after the first spraying, his eggs hatched, and he wound up spraying all those juvenile bed bugs which then ran into my place to die on my carpet.
I stated that this building has the pesticide resistant bed bug on the premises. This was obvious since the bed bug has been in the building for over a year and half, and someone sprayed the damn things and drove them into my suite, which is how I got them in first place. However the situation is not quite as dire as I imagined it would be, for it turns out that in this building the process of developing a pesticide resistant bed bug has only just begun. Most of the bed bugs can be killed by one dose of spraying, while only a few pesticide resistant bed bugs get away to start over each time.
Last month I wrote a piece on 'the behavior of starving bed bugs' where I described how bed bugs were trotting through my place at high speed in broad daylight. This was erroneous. What happened is that someone sprayed the bed bug, and the pesticide resistant bed bugs that survived the spraying then went barreling through my place at top speed in their maddened state that bed bugs get into when they get sprayed. This has been happening again this week, as once again some bed bugs have survived the spraying in the neighbor's suites and have gone trotting through my place at high speed, since when a bed bug gets sprayed, and is pesticide resistant, the spray acts like a hit of 'speed' or an upper for bed bugs and makes them act very strangely as well. Normally bed bugs conserve energy, but these bed bugs are on speed and you can tell just by observing their high speed behavior.
I posted a piece on the experience of African's who complained that when the mosquitoes were sprayed the pesticide resistant bed bugs became aggressive. This is exactly what has been happening to the pesticide resistant bed bugs in this building. You sometimes hear people saying that a bed bug will attack you in the daytime if it gets starved. When I was preparing my place for the bug spray guy and moving some stuff around I found two golden tawny colored bed bugs in my place. Bed bugs only appear red because they feed on blood. I have not allowed the bed bugs to bite me for quite some time, and the bed bugs in my suite have turned golden colored and transparent, which is the natural color of a starved bed bug. Not once have I ever been attacked by a golden bed bug, rather the true behavior of a starved bed bug is that it becomes immobile to save energy and then it sits and waits for an opportunity to bite a human while a human is sleeping and it is therefore safe to do that biting. The only bed bugs that bite during the day are those which have been exposed to chemical pesticides, and then, like the African bed bug, they go screwy in the head and become very aggressive. They also become dead real fast, which demonstrates that a bed bug that bites during the day has a very poor survival strategy, while the golden bed bug which sits it out and waits, while it is very hungry, remains alive to possibly bite another day, if the chance ever comes around. This behavior makes sense, for if that golden bed bug bit me it would be a dead bed whereas if it waits, and perhaps hopes to bite me later at least it is still alive.
When a pesticide resistant bed bug survives chemical spraying it loses its mind for a while and winds up dead. I have had survivors from the neighbor's suites trotting around my place at high speed, in broad daylight, and launching kamikaze attacks on me. One dropped from the roof, bounced off my face and landed in my lap. The targeting system of that bed radar was working with pin point accuracy, but the part of that bed bug's sensory system that tells a bed bug when a human is sleeping was malfunctioning, so naturally that was a dead bed bug, thus proving that dive bombing a human while the human is wide awake is a very bad idea. I had a bed bug on speed reckless charge me like a maddened bull lunging at the red cape of a toreador. Another bed bug got away with biting me twice on the neck and then swollen up like a balloon proceeded to nonchalantly walk down the sleeve of my shirt, until it got squashed and popped like a balloon. I now understand all those complaints from those Africans about those aggressive screwy bed bugs that attack people after DDT is sprayed. The worst thing about DDT is that it is a persistent organic phosphate (it can still be found in the environment decades after it was banned). The reason why DDT is being used in Africa is that it is cheap, thus fighting malaria the cheapest possible way (the South African government was able to cut a billion and half rands from the health budget, after switching to the DDT strategy), and since DDT persists one spray per house is all that is required, resulting in more cost savings, at least until the mosquitoes become resistant. The pesticide in use in our country does not persist, and after a few days the bed bugs go back to normal, unlike in Africa, where they have to put up with those deranged bugs all the time because of the persistence of DDT in their environments.
In a previous article I stated that when you spray bed bugs and kill the bed bugs that can be killed leaving behind only the resistant bed bugs the end result is that wind up with only resistant bed bugs from that time on. This appears to be incorrect, and either I picked up some bad information somewhere or I misunderstood some information I received. The bed bugs in this building have been knocked back in the past, and yet there is still a mixed population of bed bugs here, many of which can be killed by pesticides and some of which are resistant and survive to restart the infestation again in one suite after another. I assumed that all we had here were resistant bed bugs because of the past spraying, but my observations this week indicate that the process of pesticide resistance developing in bed bugs is not so black and white but rather the process is more complex that I understood it to be.
It would seem that one cause of a bed bug plague and of the development of the pesticide resistant bed bug is bad pest control practices. For example in this building people spray the bed bug, but you cannot spray a pesticide resistant bed bug, thus building is getting repeatedly infested again and again, and people such as myself as getting a surprise when someone sends them a load of bed bugs, since my bed bugs were supposedly 'exterminated' by someone else in the building, and as I have seen first hand those supposedly 'exterminated' bed bugs run amok and head for another suite without pesticides to start over again. Because most bed bugs are not resistant and only a few survive this explains the time lag between infestations in this building. The current survivors will require about another month to mature, two weeks for their eggs to hatch, and then another two months for their nymphs to mature, which brings us into June, at which time things will get real interesting as some real egg laying begins with that second generation of bed bugs, meaning that for certain spraying and lots of ruckus about bed bugs is coming later this summer or in the fall, as the whole thing starts over again.
What is required here is an approach that is not pesticide dependant. For example there are silica and glass treatments, employing finely ground shards of sharp glass and silica, typically placed under base boards and other places bed bugs frequent. When a bed bug is cut, it does not heal, but rather dehydrates and dies within 24 to 48 hours. When a pesticide resistant bed bug is sprayed and then goes maniac and heads for the next locale, it gets cut up on its way out, and dies, something that does not happen when a pesticide resistant bed bug is simply sprayed with pesticides. These bad pest control practices that are going on in this building are spreading bed bugs and also contributing to the development of an even more resistant bed bug in the future, and something similar has been happening around the country thus explaining the fantastic pesticide resistance levels found in some of those bugs. These bugs were 'exterminated', but they were not 'exterminated', they were evicted, and went onto to infest someone else and then get sprayed by someone else.
Spraying bed bugs is an attractive solution to people because it offers a quick fix, and in this building it fosters the illusion that the problem was quickly and efficiently solved since so many bed bugs get knocked out by the spray and the few survivors run away to an unsprayed suite. So then the question to ask people about spraying bed bugs is 'spraying bed bugs, and...what else?' Silica and Glass. Dichotomous earth? Something must be done that will work on those pesticide resistant bed bugs, and it is a ruinously bad practice to simply rely on spraying alone, which spreads bed bugs while at the same time increasing their pesticide resistance with each new episode of spraying they encounter.
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